With 12 days left until WVU faces off against Marshall in the Friends of Coal Bowl, HailWV.com will countdown the days with a featured players per day by jersey number. This is a continuation of Ken Durbin’s independent wvu100countdown.blogspot.com 100 Days Countdown to Kickoff.
Hometown: Miramar, FL
Record: 28-11, Bowl Record: 1-2 including a BCS win
No other Mountaineer has received as much preseason hype as quarterback Geno Smith. He was named the preseason Big XII Offensive Player of the Year and is widely regarded as a dark horse candidate for the Heisman Trophy. Smith has received all the love from the media due in large part to his break out junior campaign. Geno flourished in Coach Dana Holgorsen’s air raid offense after spending two seasons playing in Coach Bill Stewart’s pro-style offense. Those first two seasons, Geno completed 64.8% of his passes for 3,072 yards, 25 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions. Those statistics pale in comparison to this past season in which Geno completed 65.8% of his passes for 4,385 yards, 31 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions. Geno’s junior season earned him a second straight All-Big East selection. Geno was also named the Most Outstanding Player of the Orange Bowl (an honor that probably should have gone to Tavon Austin). Geno Smith also set WVU records for passing in 2011, with most pass attempts in a season, most pass completions in a season, and passing yards in a season. When you look at the fact that Geno will have his top three wide receivers back this season, he could be poised to have the greatest passing season in school history, even better than his record setting 2011 season.
Memorable Game: Geno Smith had so many great performances last season, it was difficult to pin point just one. The game that really stands out though (and this may be a surprise) is the home match with Connecticut. The Mountaineers were riding high coming into the game with a 4-1 record on the season. UConn was still trying to figure out what their team identity was in the post-Edsall era. The Mountaineers offense started the game a little slow, only leading the Huskies by a score of 10-6 at half time. Geno Smith would air it out in the second half, leading the Mountaineers on three scoring drives in the third quarter. Smith would throw a fourth touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to salt away the blow out of the Huskies. Geno completed 27 of 45 passes for 450 yards and 4 touchdowns in WVU’s 43-16 win.
Competition: This was a tough selection process. West Virginia is known for two tremendous quarterbacks at #12: Geno Smith and Oliver Luck. The current AD, Oliver Luck, is a member of the WVU Sports Hall of Fame and has some impressive statistics. Geno got the nod at #12 due to his incredible statistics this past season and the expectations of a monumental 2012 season that should cement Geno’s future inclusion in the WVU Sports Hall of Fame.
Teaser: Tomorrow we honor another tremendous Mountaineer quarterback. This player was a key member of West Virginia’s success in the golden era of Mountaineer football. He was a dual threat passer and rusher that terrorized opposing defenses. There are surely some defenders who still have nightmares about this player. He may not be Freddy, but if you are a defensive back, he is certainly a nightmare.